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Latest statement from the ST

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121 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Sat Jul 01 2017, 16:18

Norpig

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
welcome Bill, nice to see a new poster on here!

122 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Tue Jul 04 2017, 14:19

boltonbonce

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
ACV Holding Statement
 

Following our meeting with the club last Wednesday, the issue of the removal of the asset of community value (ACV) listing has been made public by the club. We have resolved to take various opinions from Bolton Council and Supporters Direct. Once we have received the input requested we will revert to members further at that point.

123 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Tue Jul 04 2017, 18:00

Reebok Trotter

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
People in glass houses really shouldn't be throwing stones.

And people in council houses shouldn't throw parties. As far as I'm concerned Anderson is using his own money to run the club so he has to be given some credit.

124 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Wed Jul 05 2017, 23:56

boltonbonce

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
ACV Update
 


Update on meeting of 28 June 2017 in respect of initiatives of BWFCST and the club’s enquiry concerning the ACV

 
We write in further explanation of the request made by the club of the voluntary removal of the Asset of Community Value (“ACV”) approved by the Council in February 2017 over property at the Macron stadium.
 
We were pleased to meet with representatives of the current owners on 28/6/17. As is entirely prudent,
around 2 weeks before the meeting we requested from the club an explanation of areas of discussion that they might wish to disclose with us in advance of the meeting.

The club described their reasoning for the meeting as being a general chat. We set out a variety of initiatives which have now been widely publicised in the media which included amongst other matters, an initiative to promote the excellent work of the Academy and ideas to improve the supporter experience relating to wifi and the fanzone. We also raised the subject of the issue of safe standing which the club later addressed in a statement to fans via the Bolton News.
 
At the meeting the issue of the ACV was discussed as a first topic. As a result of the heavy demand on Mr Anderson’s time, he was not able to remain in the meeting after the request for removal of the ACV. The remainder of the meeting was both interesting and promising as our initiatives were considered.
 
The ACV does not prevent football clubs in their occupation and use of land which is deemed important to the community. It does not impede such property being mortgaged and is intended to protect property from secret sales thus seeking to introduce a transparency to transactions; the listing party is afforded a period of 6 weeks in which to register their interest in any change of ownership to the ACV, and given the opportunity to match sale terms
 
 Our response to the request to “lift” the ACV was that we would investigate the position with Bolton Mbc and Supporters Direct and revert to the club. Whilst the club highlighted that it would be preferable for the club and the supporters’ trust to do this on a consensual basis, we pointed out that the ACV was core to the values of any supporters’ trust and we wanted to take advice.
 
Initial substantive contact with both the Council and Supporters’ Direct was not made until 3/7/17 despite attempts being initiated on 28/6/17. On the part of Supporters Direct we were informed that their annual conference took place at the weekend 1-2/7/17 and as such they were unable to give this matter their immediate attention.
 
From the discussions with Bolton Mbc and Supporters Direct, we are advised that there is no mechanism in the legislation for the voluntary “lifting” of the ACV. The idea being that the listing of an ACV is now a matter vested with the local authority.

Unfortunately in these circumstances the request made of the Supporters’ Trust is misplaced and therefor we’re not in a position to help,
however we will continue to drive our initiatives for the direct benefit of the club and to support the experience of the supporter.  
 
We have informed the club of our findings and have sought another meeting to pursue further initiatives.  


125 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Thu Jul 06 2017, 08:29

Norpig

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Not really doing much to improve the relationship between them and the club are they?  Rolling Eyes

126 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Thu Jul 06 2017, 08:37

Fabians Right Peg

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Andy Walker
Andy Walker
They may as well have wrote, Anderson came to the meeting demanded the ACV be lifted and then left whilst the small fish talked about the quality of the pies. Does not take much reading between the lines to see that there is still bad blood there.

Shocked

127 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Sun Nov 12 2017, 13:45

boltonbonce

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Sluffy must be busy,so I'll post it.


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128 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Sun Nov 12 2017, 14:45

Sluffy

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Admin
I did actually see the article in the Bolton News but as the ladies team aren't even a part of the club...

"Wanderers Ladies come under the umbrella of the Community Trust, a registered charity, rather than the club itself".

...we've never had a thread as such about the ladies team on Nuts and it wasn't actually a news statement from the ST but rather once again Iles blowing smoke up the ST's backsides (anyone noticed he's not never tweeted or wrote an article on the outcome of the ACV appeal - which despite the ST trying to spin it otherwise - was a defeat for them!).

So I didn't see any relevance in mentioning the article.

Fair play however for doing something now, although it does make me wonder why they hadn't decided to do something for the ladies team much, much sooner - they are after all in PARTNERSHIP with the Community Trust and have been for some time!!!

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I also don't think they bothered sponsoring any of their players like Manning and his mates at LoV have(?) or is it just a pure coincidence that they've done it now just at the time they are finally holding their long delayed elections!?

129 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Sun Nov 12 2017, 15:02

boltonbonce

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
It must the 'Bolton Wanderers' that's confusing me. 

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130 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Sun Nov 12 2017, 15:49

Sluffy

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Admin
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:It must the 'Bolton Wanderers' that's confusing me. 

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

I'm sure its confused many Bonce.

As I said fair play to the ST (or anyone else for that matter) helping them out by whatever means they can but the cynical side of me came out when I first read the article and wondered why are the ST only helping them out NOW - after all they are directly (and formally) associated with the ladies team through partnership ties - vastly more so indeed than they are to the club!

Seemed to me to be much more of a coincidence for them (via Iles) to post up a 'good news' story just at the time of their elections - where they desperately need people to be interacting with them and vote - otherwise they once again face the prospect of yet another unelected Board for a further year.

Also did anyone notice the commitment by the ST was for this year only - you'd think they would have made a bigger commitment than that if they were serious about supporting the ladies team (and fellow partner organisation!).





131 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Sun Nov 12 2017, 15:50

boltonbonce

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
They're probably skint. Razz

132 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Sun Nov 12 2017, 15:59

Sluffy

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Admin
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:They're probably skint. Razz

No I don't think they are.

They claim they have something like 3,500 members at £10 a head (plus say a 1,000 renewals at a further £10) so that's £45,000.

They also raised a wodge over the Legends game - something like a further £20,000+ I think they once claim.

So even taking out printing and postage of their membership 'shares', and the other various expenses they have had, they should still have plenty in their bank I would have thought.

Enough at least to commit to a two year sponsorship for the ladies kit, if not longer.

133 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Mon Nov 13 2017, 13:36

King Bill

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David Lee
David Lee
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:They're probably skint. Razz

No I don't think they are.

They claim they have something like 3,500 members at £10 a head (plus say a 1,000 renewals at a further £10) so that's £45,000.

They also raised a wodge over the Legends game - something like a further £20,000+ I think they once claim.

So even taking out printing and postage of their membership 'shares', and the other various expenses they have had, they should still have plenty in their bank I would have thought.

Enough at least to commit to a two year sponsorship for the ladies kit, if not longer.

More nonsense and fantasy.
Your posts are littered with assumptions, guesswork and scaremongering. You must be a mate of Ken's 

I don't think, should, would, like, are just of few of the words you use regarding the ST. Either get your facts right or stop posting rubbish.

FYI,  I never paid the £10 voluntary membership fee, so they should only have £44990 in the bank.....lets say.

134 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Mon Nov 13 2017, 14:25

Sluffy

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Admin
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:They're probably skint. Razz

No I don't think they are.

They claim they have something like 3,500 members at £10 a head (plus say a 1,000 renewals at a further £10) so that's £45,000.

They also raised a wodge over the Legends game - something like a further £20,000+ I think they once claim.

So even taking out printing and postage of their membership 'shares', and the other various expenses they have had, they should still have plenty in their bank I would have thought.

Enough at least to commit to a two year sponsorship for the ladies kit, if not longer.

More nonsense and fantasy.
Your posts are littered with assumptions, guesswork and scaremongering. You must be a mate of Ken's 

I don't think, should, would, like, are just of few of the words you use regarding the ST. Either get your facts right or stop posting rubbish.

FYI,  I never paid the £10 voluntary membership fee, so they should only have £44990 in the bank.....lets say.

It may well be nonsense and fantasy but the details are taken directly from what Mike Smith - ST founder and Board member - has stated on the Wanderers Ways forum.

I'm not sad enough to search through all his posts on there to find and show the links to what he's said but I assure you they are there and what I have quoted is what he posted - apart from the 1,000 renewals at £10, which may be more or less but I thought was a reasonable fair estimate based on the decline of interest in the ST.

Smith and the ST 'claim' that anybody who 'pledged to join' the ST is a 'member' (over 6,000 did apparently included the ones who pledged for their pet budgie, senile granny or new born child) but only 3,500 people bothered actually paying their pledge of £10 - of which I assume you aren't one from what you state above.

So,

3,500 payments of £10 = £35,000

plus the estimate 1,000 renewals at £10 = £10,000 and thus giving £45,000 in membership income.

Add on to this the £20,000+ Smith stated they received from the legends game gives the income total I showed above.

Whether people want to believe that amount or not is up to them - BUT the figures have been put into the public domain by Mike Smith (posting as Josh8) the ST's founder - and not by me!

135 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Sun Nov 26 2017, 18:39

boltonbonce

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
STATEMENT FROM THE ELECTION MANAGEMENT GROUP As independent chair of the BWFCST Election Management Group, I, Dave Cookson, wish to update BWFCST Members as follows:

1. In line with the previously published election timeline, the number of members eligible to stand as candidates for election as at the close of registration on 27 October 2017 was 2,487.

2. The number of members eligible to vote in the election as at the close of registration on 13 November 2017 was 2,487.

3. As per confirmation received from the independent election administrating company, Electoral Reform Services, at the close of nominations at 5pm on Monday 20 November 2017, the following three people had put themselves forward as candidates for the election process: Paul Brown Simon Nightingale Michael Smith

4. As the number of board positions available for election (four) have not been reached, in line with the BWFCST Election Policy (refer to item 8.3) and the BWFCST Model Rules (refer to item 56), there is no requirement for a ballot process to be undertaken and the three members noted above are deemed to be duly elected and will now join the three retained board members (Daniel Izza, Terence Rigby and Maggie Tetlow) and form the BWFCST Board of Directors.

5. The above procedure has been discussed and agreed with Supporters Direct as being valid and fully in accordance with the published BWFCST Election Policy and Model Rules.

6. The Candidate Statements provided by each of the above will be posted on the BWFCST website.

Dave Cookson Dave Cookson Independent Chair – BWFCST Election Management Group 23 Nov 2017

136 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Sun Nov 26 2017, 19:43

Sluffy

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Admin
Quelle surprise.

Rolling Eyes

137 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Sun Nov 26 2017, 19:58

Bollotom2014

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Tony Kelly
Tony Kelly
If, as a for instance, people do not like a particular person, am I right in thinking  the ST can still go ahead and put any person on said committee? I ask as when I placed an objection last time I was informed there was no need for elections as the said persons had been "Co-opted."
   And 2,487 is well short of the approx 4,000 they led me to believe were members. Still, I do expect, as in the past, they will conjure up more mischief. But good luck in what they do, whatever that is.

138 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Sun Nov 26 2017, 20:03

Sluffy

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Admin
I note that the ST's membership has fallen since it's last election.

From 2,537

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to 2,487.

Not a lot but considering how hard they've made out to make Anderson look a bad owner of the club over the last 18 months, it's hardly conclusive proof of their claim that they represent the voice of Bolton fans - does it!

139 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Sun Nov 26 2017, 20:15

Sluffy

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Admin
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:If, as a for instance, people do not like a particular person, am I right in thinking  the ST can still go ahead and put any person on said committee? I ask as when I placed an objection last time I was informed there was no need for elections as the said persons had been "Co-opted."

   And 2,487 is well short of the approx 4,000 they led me to believe were members. Still, I do expect, as in the past, they will conjure up more mischief. But good luck in what they do, whatever that is.

In simple terms yes is the answer Tom.

It obviously depends on the ST's constitution but it is common practise in instance like this for bodies to co-opt people they like on to their board without a vote, or objections from individuals.




140 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Wed Dec 05 2018, 11:29

boltonbonce

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse


BWFCST Response

On 29 November ’18, Mr Anderson posted a public response to our recent update to members regarding our attempts to establish some meaningful communications. This was included within the most recent of his regular “[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]” articles on the club website.

During a recent exchange of emails with the Mr Anderson, via his consultant Paul Aldridge, we were advised that the updates posted on the club website are considered by the club to form an integral part of the owner’s interface with the BWFC supporters.
 
Of course, we welcome such communications as a part of the process of engaging with supporters, promoting the club and keeping all readers in the loop regarding what is going on at BWFC.
 
However, what we do not accept is that such a method of communicating with the BWFC supporters provides a forum for a full and frank exchange of views between the owners and those supporters. This is the very reason that we suggested to Mr Anderson that engagement in a [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] (MoU) could allow progress to be made in establishing such a platform for communication. The content of the draft MoU, which was forwarded to Mr Anderson for his assessment, references that such an arrangement would be fully inclusive of all interested fan groups associated with BWFC. Such diverse groups, including other supporters’ associations and online forums, would also be invited and encouraged to nominate representatives to become involved in engaging with Mr Anderson.
 
The reason for asking Mr Anderson to consider such a proposal arose as a result of the club’s financial distress being reported in the media on a continuing and regular basis. This is not considered to be the time and place to document and discuss such ongoing events, but suffice it to say that supporters concerns have been increasing steadily for some time.
 
In early 2016 and with the club’s future at that time still very uncertain, the BWFCST posed a series of questions prior to the Sports Shield Consortium takeover, which was finally sanctioned by the EFL in March 2016. Some of the points raised at the time are now not relevant, but we invite you to view those [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] once more and to form your own opinions as to their continuing relevance.
 
The adoption of a MoU would, in our opinion, allow supporters representatives some access to those who control our club in order to obtain information and, hopefully, reassurance that the stability and sustainability of the club is being adequately addressed. Indeed, this is a process recognised by the Government, the Premier League and the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] when they incorporated a requirement for all clubs to meet with supporters’ representatives at least twice a year.
 
As Mr Anderson considers that he is meeting this [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] by posting regular notes on the club website and holding infrequent, comparatively ad-hoc Q&A sessions before home games, we attempted to establish a more formal structured dialogue forum by suggesting the MoU.
 
Mr Anderson used the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] on 29 November ‘18 to state his views on the BWFCST’s recent MoU proposal and we would like to address each of his comments below in turn and record our observations as follows:
 


  1. Request for Structured Dialogue

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KA: “I am aware of the Supporters’ Trust’s recent statement in which they have requested for me to engage in ‘structured dialogue’ with their own representatives and the wider support, which I quite frankly find astonishing.”
 
BWFCST: We find it “astonishing” that Mr Anderson appears to accept that there is no requirement for more meaningful dialogue with supporters especially given this current climate of financial instability and distress which the club is experiencing on a regular basis.
 

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  1. Lines of Communication

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KA: “Since I became involved with this club, it has been my intention to have an open and honest line of communication with ALL our supporters and not to hold exclusive conversations with individuals or groups.”
 
BWFCST: Surely, an “open and honest line of communication” infers a two-way dialogue and not a one way monologue? If the structure of a MoU was put in place, this would allow ALL fan groups’ representatives, including, but not limited to, the BWFCST, access to a forum in which to engage in such lines of communication. If Mr Anderson considers that this would be an “exclusive conversation with individuals or groups”, then how does this differ from the situation at all other football clubs and what is a realistic alternative?
 

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  1. Board Representation, Shareholding & Nothing Positive?

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KA: “During one of my early meetings with them they requested board representation and a shareholding. Their financial offer was what I can only describe as derisory and insulting and generally speaking nothing positive ever came out of the meetings.”
 
BWFCST: Board representation for the Trust is always an option for discussion with any owner of our football club. As a registered Community Benefit Society, our [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] include the following words under Item 5 – Powers:
 
5.2 secure democratic and accountable representation on the Club’s Board
 
The suggestion of the BWFCST acquiring shares in the club has been discussed with Mr Anderson in the past. At one of our meetings, we were handed a quotation of approximately £140,000 which had been obtained by the club for some pitch remedial works at the Lostock Training Facility.
 
We had explained to Mr Anderson at earlier meetings that, as a Community Benefit Society, we do need to obtain some return for our members in consideration for any investment of funds. For the sake of clarity, noted below is an extract from a letter we sent to Mr Anderson after a meeting held with him on 14 February 2017:
 
“As we have indicated previously, the Supporters' Trust has the power to invest in the club and to do so in both equity and debt. Furthermore, FCA regulations allow the Supporters’ Trust to finance such an investment by making equity and debt issues to the public in a clearly defined and prescribed manner. 

We would like to discuss with you the possibility of an allocation to the Supporters' Trust. In order to progress such participation we will need further insight and information relating to the current financial situation and your planned refinance so as to allow us to plan a public issue. To make a public issue worthwhile, we would propose to revert to our membership and expressions of interest from one year ago to invest sums of money to help make the club re-draw its position and proactively move forward. Our proposal is not undertaken lightly and will require the co-operation of several stakeholders to succeed but at the core is an instinct to help preserve the club with significant supporters’ involvement, as well as recognising your efforts in steering the club through this difficult time.
Rather than provide you with a long list of requests for information we would like to discuss this more clearly defined participation with you.
 
Following a discussion in principle of mutual co-operation we would also wish to discuss with you heads of terms for a shareholder agreement that would reflect the community & football interest objectives essential to underpin community funding initiatives.” 
 
When asked to consider funding the pitch works, we agreed to consider the proposal and subsequently suggested a 10% shareholding in return. Mr Anderson’s comment that he considered our offer as “derisory and insulting” is somewhat concerning, particularly in the light of the fact that the Sports Shield BWFC [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], dated 20 Sept ’18 and filed at Companies House on 02 October ’18, records that Mr Anderson’s company, Inner Circle Investments, acquired the SSBWFC 37% shareholding in Burnden Leisure on 08 Sept ’17 for the sum of £150,000.
 
In response to Mr Anderson’s dismissive statement that “nothing positive ever came out of the meetings”, we would reference his “[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] which includes the following words:
 
“Before the game I met with the Supporters Trust and had what I think was an open, frank and meaningful meeting. 
 
I am hopeful that going forward we will be able to work closer together and be more supportive of each other, as it is essential that we get the club back on a financially sustainable foundation and work our way through eradicating the losses and putting ourselves in a position to refinance the club through a debt and equity offering. 
 
I have to say, I came away from the meeting believing that they were on side and would be very supportive going forward in helping, supporting and understanding the difficult and at times painful decisions I am having to make to ensure the future of this club. 
 
Together, I am confident we will come out of this much stronger for the actions we are currently having to take.” 
 

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  1. Open Invitation?

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KA: “In the Q&A sessions I have held at the club, the invitation has always been open for every single Bolton Wanderers fan and no questions have been off limits. These have been timed to coincide with match-days to ensure as many supporters as possible can attend. The Supporters Trust and other supporter groups are able to participate in these forums and ask whatever questions they would like.”
 
BWFCST: Two pre-match Q&As with Mr Anderson in attendance have been held in the Whites Hotel, in November ‘17 and October ’18. There have been members of the Supporters’ Trust in attendance at both the Q&A sessions and questions have been asked by those members. Whilst the access to Mr Anderson for the supporters is very much appreciated and in great contrast to the previous regime, we still feel that this is not a forum in which to conduct structured dialogue.
 

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  1.  Disingenuous?

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KA: “In the letter they sent to me requesting said ‘structured dialogue’ they added in a paragraph to the Memorandum of Understanding to suit their own agenda which isn’t included in the current regulations. We felt this to be disingenuous.”
 
BWFCST: It was with the specific purpose of commencing a process of structured dialogue between the club and the supporters that we issued Mr Anderson with the draft MoU for his consideration. This draft document is based totally on the template MoU as prepared by Supporters Direct. We would also point out that Supporters Direct played an active part in the preparation of the Government report, which, in turn, went on to form the basis of the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] update with regards to structured dialogue between clubs and supporters representatives. Indeed, it is the Government report which specifically references the involvement of any Supporters Trusts in such structured engagement. It is on this basis that the Supporters Direct template MoU contains such a reference and is not, as noted in Mr Anderson’s statement, a case of us being “disingenuous”.
 

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  1. Board, Elections & Direct Debits

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KA: “It’s perhaps pertinent to mention that the Supporters Trust have had three changes in leadership in relatively quick succession which would make ‘structured dialogue’ somewhat challenging and I have some concerns about how they operate their elections and not to mention the direct debit subscriptions fiasco.”
 
BWFCST: The trust has operated with a properly constituted board since formation. Initially, this was as a Steering Group, with members added by the trust founders in line with the trust constitution, and thereafter as an elected board after the first elections held in 2016. As a properly and formally constituted board, the change of chairman is irrelevant to the process of establishing structured dialogue protocols. Indeed, the fact that the BWFC “board” consists of a single member, who generally only attends the stadium on match days, is considered as a major factor in making arrangements “somewhat challenging”.
 
With regards to Mr Anderson’s “…concerns about how they operate their elections…”, we would confirm that both elections held to date have been carried out in full accordance with the BWFCST Model Rules and overseen by an Election Management Group (EMG). Subsequent to each election process the EMG issued a statement to members in [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]7. In addition, the EMG employed the services of an independent and established election management company, [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].
 
Mr Anderson’s reference to the “direct debit fiasco” is somewhat puzzling and a little surprising considering the financial problems the club itself is experiencing. In October ’17 we undertook an upgrading of our online membership processing procedures. As a result, some members experienced minor delays in completing subscription transactions. Members were [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] at all times and any queries were resolved on an individual basis. However, at no time were direct debit transactions affected.
 

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  1. Next Q&A Session

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KA: “I’ll be looking to have another Q&A forum in January and of course representatives from the Supporters Trust are more than welcome to attend alongside all our other supporters and we can all engage in some ‘structured dialogue.”’
 
BWFCST: Whilst looking forward to seeing Mr Anderson at his next planned Q&A in January ’19, we would reiterate our opinion that such an event, most likely held in the Whites Hotel prior to a game, is not the time and place to engage in true structured dialogue.
 
In Conclusion
 
In summary of the above, whilst hoping that we have clarified some of the inaccuracies in Mr Anderson’s “notes”, we would register our concern that he chooses such a medium to engage with the BWFCST, a group of committed BWFC supporters who have no agenda other than ensuring that our club remains in existence as an integral part of the larger Bolton community, as has been the case for well over 100 years.
 
We would also like to place on record that we have never nor do we ever want to run/own or takeover this club in any way, shape or form and that we are just passionate BWFC supporters who place the survival of our great club as our main focus.
 
Ongoing problems continue, including late payments to staff and the continuing struggle to find new investment. This means that we really do need a method of structured dialogue and on that basis, we again urge Mr Anderson to consider opening up a two-way conversation with the dedicated BWFC supporters.
 
Apologies if this seems to be a somewhat extended review of Mr Anderson’s comments, but we feel that the off-the-cuff nature of some of his words questioning the actions and intentions of the BWFCST required clarification and putting into perspective.
 
As we said in our [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] on 30 November ’18, the time for prevarication is over and the time for positive action is upon us.
 
BWFCST Board
03 December 2018[/size]

141 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Wed Dec 05 2018, 11:42

Natasha Whittam

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
I preferred you when you wrote about slippers.

142 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Wed Dec 05 2018, 12:13

karlypants

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
It certainly doesn’t help with half of it missing.

Bonce when copying text over try putting the text box in editor mode first! Smile

143 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Wed Dec 05 2018, 12:50

boltonbonce

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:It certainly doesn’t help with half of it missing.

Bonce when copying text over try putting the text box in editor mode first! Smile
It's all there when I look at it KP.

144 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Wed Dec 05 2018, 13:01

BoltonTillIDie

avatar
Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
BWFCST Response

On 29 November ’18, Mr Anderson posted a public response to our recent update to members regarding our attempts to establish some meaningful communications. This was included within the most recent of his regular “Note from the Chairman” articles on the club website.

During a recent exchange of emails with the Mr Anderson, via his consultant Paul Aldridge, we were advised that the updates posted on the club website are considered by the club to form an integral part of the owner’s interface with the BWFC supporters.

Of course, we welcome such communications as a part of the process of engaging with supporters, promoting the club and keeping all readers in the loop regarding what is going on at BWFC.

However, what we do not accept is that such a method of communicating with the BWFC supporters provides a forum for a full and frank exchange of views between the owners and those supporters. This is the very reason that we suggested to Mr Anderson that engagement in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) could allow progress to be made in establishing such a platform for communication. The content of the draft MoU, which was forwarded to Mr Anderson for his assessment, references that such an arrangement would be fully inclusive of all interested fan groups associated with BWFC. Such diverse groups, including other supporters’ associations and online forums, would also be invited and encouraged to nominate representatives to become involved in engaging with Mr Anderson.

The reason for asking Mr Anderson to consider such a proposal arose as a result of the club’s financial distress being reported in the media on a continuing and regular basis. This is not considered to be the time and place to document and discuss such ongoing events, but suffice it to say that supporters concerns have been increasing steadily for some time.

In early 2016 and with the club’s future at that time still very uncertain, the BWFCST posed a series of questions prior to the Sports Shield Consortium takeover, which was finally sanctioned by the EFL in March 2016. Some of the points raised at the time are now not relevant, but we invite you to view those important questions once more and to form your own opinions as to their continuing relevance.

The adoption of a MoU would, in our opinion, allow supporters representatives some access to those who control our club in order to obtain information and, hopefully, reassurance that the stability and sustainability of the club is being adequately addressed. Indeed, this is a process recognised by the Government, the Premier League and the EFL when they incorporated a requirement for all clubs to meet with supporters’ representatives at least twice a year.

As Mr Anderson considers that he is meeting this requirement by posting regular notes on the club website and holding infrequent, comparatively ad-hoc Q&A sessions before home games, we attempted to establish a more formal structured dialogue forum by suggesting the MoU.

Mr Anderson used the club website on 29 November ‘18 to state his views on the BWFCST’s recent MoU proposal and we would like to address each of his comments below in turn and record our observations as follows:

Request for Structured Dialogue

KA: “I am aware of the Supporters’ Trust’s recent statement in which they have requested for me to engage in ‘structured dialogue’ with their own representatives and the wider support, which I quite frankly find astonishing.”

BWFCST: We find it “astonishing” that Mr Anderson appears to accept that there is no requirement for more meaningful dialogue with supporters especially given this current climate of financial instability and distress which the club is experiencing on a regular basis.

Lines of Communication

KA: “Since I became involved with this club, it has been my intention to have an open and honest line of communication with ALL our supporters and not to hold exclusive conversations with individuals or groups.”

BWFCST: Surely, an “open and honest line of communication” infers a two-way dialogue and not a one way monologue? If the structure of a MoU was put in place, this would allow ALL fan groups’ representatives, including, but not limited to, the BWFCST, access to a forum in which to engage in such lines of communication. If Mr Anderson considers that this would be an “exclusive conversation with individuals or groups”, then how does this differ from the situation at all other football clubs and what is a realistic alternative?

Board Representation, Shareholding & Nothing Positive?

KA: “During one of my early meetings with them they requested board representation and a shareholding. Their financial offer was what I can only describe as derisory and insulting and generally speaking nothing positive ever came out of the meetings.”

BWFCST: Board representation for the Trust is always an option for discussion with any owner of our football club. As a registered Community Benefit Society, our Model Rules include the following words under Item 5 – Powers:

5.2 secure democratic and accountable representation on the Club’s Board

The suggestion of the BWFCST acquiring shares in the club has been discussed with Mr Anderson in the past. At one of our meetings, we were handed a quotation of approximately £140,000 which had been obtained by the club for some pitch remedial works at the Lostock Training Facility.

We had explained to Mr Anderson at earlier meetings that, as a Community Benefit Society, we do need to obtain some return for our members in consideration for any investment of funds. For the sake of clarity, noted below is an extract from a letter we sent to Mr Anderson after a meeting held with him on 14 February 2017:

“As we have indicated previously, the Supporters' Trust has the power to invest in the club and to do so in both equity and debt. Furthermore, FCA regulations allow the Supporters’ Trust to finance such an investment by making equity and debt issues to the public in a clearly defined and prescribed manner.

We would like to discuss with you the possibility of an allocation to the Supporters' Trust. In order to progress such participation we will need further insight and information relating to the current financial situation and your planned refinance so as to allow us to plan a public issue. To make a public issue worthwhile, we would propose to revert to our membership and expressions of interest from one year ago to invest sums of money to help make the club re-draw its position and proactively move forward. Our proposal is not undertaken lightly and will require the co-operation of several stakeholders to succeed but at the core is an instinct to help preserve the club with significant supporters’ involvement, as well as recognising your efforts in steering the club through this difficult time.
Rather than provide you with a long list of requests for information we would like to discuss this more clearly defined participation with you.

Following a discussion in principle of mutual co-operation we would also wish to discuss with you heads of terms for a shareholder agreement that would reflect the community & football interest objectives essential to underpin community funding initiatives.”

When asked to consider funding the pitch works, we agreed to consider the proposal and subsequently suggested a 10% shareholding in return. Mr Anderson’s comment that he considered our offer as “derisory and insulting” is somewhat concerning, particularly in the light of the fact that the Sports Shield BWFC liquidators report, dated 20 Sept ’18 and filed at Companies House on 02 October ’18, records that Mr Anderson’s company, Inner Circle Investments, acquired the SSBWFC 37% shareholding in Burnden Leisure on 08 Sept ’17 for the sum of £150,000.

In response to Mr Anderson’s dismissive statement that “nothing positive ever came out of the meetings”, we would reference his “notes” on the club website on 15 Feb ’17 which includes the following words:

“Before the game I met with the Supporters Trust and had what I think was an open, frank and meaningful meeting.

I am hopeful that going forward we will be able to work closer together and be more supportive of each other, as it is essential that we get the club back on a financially sustainable foundation and work our way through eradicating the losses and putting ourselves in a position to refinance the club through a debt and equity offering.

I have to say, I came away from the meeting believing that they were on side and would be very supportive going forward in helping, supporting and understanding the difficult and at times painful decisions I am having to make to ensure the future of this club.

Together, I am confident we will come out of this much stronger for the actions we are currently having to take.”

Open Invitation?

KA: “In the Q&A sessions I have held at the club, the invitation has always been open for every single Bolton Wanderers fan and no questions have been off limits. These have been timed to coincide with match-days to ensure as many supporters as possible can attend. The Supporters Trust and other supporter groups are able to participate in these forums and ask whatever questions they would like.”

BWFCST: Two pre-match Q&As with Mr Anderson in attendance have been held in the Whites Hotel, in November ‘17 and October ’18. There have been members of the Supporters’ Trust in attendance at both the Q&A sessions and questions have been asked by those members. Whilst the access to Mr Anderson for the supporters is very much appreciated and in great contrast to the previous regime, we still feel that this is not a forum in which to conduct structured dialogue.

Disingenuous?

KA: “In the letter they sent to me requesting said ‘structured dialogue’ they added in a paragraph to the Memorandum of Understanding to suit their own agenda which isn’t included in the current regulations. We felt this to be disingenuous.”

BWFCST: It was with the specific purpose of commencing a process of structured dialogue between the club and the supporters that we issued Mr Anderson with the draft MoU for his consideration. This draft document is based totally on the template MoU as prepared by Supporters Direct. We would also point out that Supporters Direct played an active part in the preparation of the Government report, which, in turn, went on to form the basis of the EFL Regulations update with regards to structured dialogue between clubs and supporters representatives. Indeed, it is the Government report which specifically references the involvement of any Supporters Trusts in such structured engagement. It is on this basis that the Supporters Direct template MoU contains such a reference and is not, as noted in Mr Anderson’s statement, a case of us being “disingenuous”.

Board, Elections & Direct Debits

KA: “It’s perhaps pertinent to mention that the Supporters Trust have had three changes in leadership in relatively quick succession which would make ‘structured dialogue’ somewhat challenging and I have some concerns about how they operate their elections and not to mention the direct debit subscriptions fiasco.”

BWFCST: The trust has operated with a properly constituted board since formation. Initially, this was as a Steering Group, with members added by the trust founders in line with the trust constitution, and thereafter as an elected board after the first elections held in 2016. As a properly and formally constituted board, the change of chairman is irrelevant to the process of establishing structured dialogue protocols. Indeed, the fact that the BWFC “board” consists of a single member, who generally only attends the stadium on match days, is considered as a major factor in making arrangements “somewhat challenging”.

With regards to Mr Anderson’s “…concerns about how they operate their elections…”, we would confirm that both elections held to date have been carried out in full accordance with the BWFCST Model Rules and overseen by an Election Management Group (EMG). Subsequent to each election process the EMG issued a statement to members in June/July ’16 and October/November ’17. In addition, the EMG employed the services of an independent and established election management company, Electoral Reform Services.

Mr Anderson’s reference to the “direct debit fiasco” is somewhat puzzling and a little surprising considering the financial problems the club itself is experiencing. In October ’17 we undertook an upgrading of our online membership processing procedures. As a result, some members experienced minor delays in completing subscription transactions. Members were kept informed at all times and any queries were resolved on an individual basis. However, at no time were direct debit transactions affected.

Next Q&A Session

KA: “I’ll be looking to have another Q&A forum in January and of course representatives from the Supporters Trust are more than welcome to attend alongside all our other supporters and we can all engage in some ‘structured dialogue.”’

BWFCST: Whilst looking forward to seeing Mr Anderson at his next planned Q&A in January ’19, we would reiterate our opinion that such an event, most likely held in the Whites Hotel prior to a game, is not the time and place to engage in true structured dialogue.

In Conclusion

In summary of the above, whilst hoping that we have clarified some of the inaccuracies in Mr Anderson’s “notes”, we would register our concern that he chooses such a medium to engage with the BWFCST, a group of committed BWFC supporters who have no agenda other than ensuring that our club remains in existence as an integral part of the larger Bolton community, as has been the case for well over 100 years.

We would also like to place on record that we have never nor do we ever want to run/own or takeover this club in any way, shape or form and that we are just passionate BWFC supporters who place the survival of our great club as our main focus.

Ongoing problems continue, including late payments to staff and the continuing struggle to find new investment. This means that we really do need a method of structured dialogue and on that basis, we again urge Mr Anderson to consider opening up a two-way conversation with the dedicated BWFC supporters.

Apologies if this seems to be a somewhat extended review of Mr Anderson’s comments, but we feel that the off-the-cuff nature of some of his words questioning the actions and intentions of the BWFCST required clarification and putting into perspective.

As we said in our open letter to the Mr Anderson on 30 November ’18, the time for prevarication is over and the time for positive action is upon us.

BWFCST Board
03 December 2018

145 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Wed Dec 05 2018, 13:05

boltonbonce

avatar
Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Cheers BTID.  Very Happy

146 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Wed Dec 05 2018, 13:18

Nigelbwfc


David Lee
David Lee
As Sluffy points out else where, their intention is to take over the club.

147 Re: Latest statement from the ST on Fri Dec 07 2018, 11:19

boltonbonce

avatar
Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Some of you may have recently heard reference to the BWFCST having set up a Community Interest Company (CIC). The CIC has been registered under the name “Bolton Wanderers Supporters Community Interest Company” and was incorporated and registered at Companies House on 09 October 2018.

A community interest company is a specific type of company introduced by the UK government in 2005 under the Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Act 2004 . A CIC is a business with primary social objectives to achieve public good. In our case we set up BW Supporters CIC to provide benefit to the supporters of BWFC, it's employees, the volunteers who work for it, the entities who trade with it, other football clubs who play against it and the inhabitants of Bolton and it's environs generally. It will be owned by shareholders, whose holding will reflect contribution, with the specific purpose of acting as a fund raising vehicle. The BW Supporters CIC would not be aimed solely or primarily at maximising profit like an ordinary company. Statutory reporting requirements include an annual CIC report prepared by the directors to show how the CIC is still satisfying the community interest test and it is policed by the CIC Regulator. The benefits of a CIC can be viewed in more detail here.

We are happy to accept Mr Anderson's recent invitation to meet with all the members of the trust and we will happily explain the rationale we have behind establishing the community interest company. We will also discuss how we can work together to help secure the future of BWFC in both the short and longer term.

If Mr Anderson can avoid the possibility of administration, we sincerely hope that he will use the opportunity to engage in a structured dialogue with the BWFC supporters, all of whom have a vested interest in having something to shout about each week.

As we stated over recent days, we are still looking to engage with Mr Anderson and would therefore ask him to confirm when he is available to meet.

BWFCST Board
07 December 2018

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